People with Developmental Disabilities Make Great Employees

A man with Down syndrome shaking hands with a co-worker at the office

Joshua said it was hard to get a job at first because he wasn’t given a chance to prove himself.  Once he was hired, his co-workers valued his contribution.  According to the US Census Bureau, only 19% of working age adults with developmental disabilities are employed. The majority of those employed are working only part-time or earning sub-minimum wage, leading to a disproportionate number of people with disabilities living in poverty and seclusion from their community. For those who are non-disabled, the employment rate is 64%.

For National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) we want to raise awareness about the many benefits of creating an inclusive and diverse workplace.

Research conducted by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) reveals that the majority of workplace accommodations cost nothing to make, which is the most common concern expresses by businesses.

A recent article in Forbes noted the following “Seven reasons why hiring people with disabilities is good for business:

  • Improves the overall bottom line
  • Reduced turnover rate
  • Discover untapped potential
  • Improve company culture
  • Expands consumer markets
  • Financial incentives
  • Meets government requirements

People with disabilities contribute to an organization’s success by bringing unique perspectives and experiences to the workplace.

Joshua’s employment success is featured in a series of personal stories by The Arc of the United States. There are many ways to get on a path to employment through training and placement agencies.  Contact your local regional center or Arc affiliate to learn more about how you can access employment training and placement services in your area, or to make your business more diverse and inclusive.


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